Saturday, March 9, 2013

No Peace

My new roommate has made my life into a living hell.

I thought that things couldn't get any worse, but I was proven to be wrong on every level. Somehow, after the night that Brian apparently raped me, every aspect of my life became an invasion of privacy from all sides. Moment after moment of harassment and humiliation followed me wherever I went. At work, almost every single one of my co-workers had made attempts to coerce me into sex, and the incidents had become a daily part of my routine. The constant, demeaning nature of this became a barrage, and made me feel helpless. I couldn't report all of my co-workers to Human Resources: they never would have believed that all of them were treating me so poorly.

In addition, I found my efforts to unwind and enjoy myself elsewhere frustrated by one thing after another. Once, going for a walk, I was stopped by an incredibly long parade that stretched across my regular path and seemed to follow me, whatever direction I took to avoid it. Another time, when I went to get myself a cup of coffee from Starbucks, there was a customer in line ahead of me who became irate with some error on the part of the cashier, and it took the staff nearly half an hour to convince him to leave. During that time, he held up the line, and when he had finally been escorted from the premises someone cut in front of me to get their drink without so much as a passing glance.

These incidents may have been minor inconveniences by themselves, but altogether, and on a daily basis they conspired to turn my life into one frustration after another. It was as though Brian moving into my apartment had set some cosmic wheel in motion, a wheel that placed me beneath it and crushed me.

And then, to my horror, I discovered that the worst thing imaginable had happened.

I arrived home from work late one evening, and was shocked to find that Brian was nowhere to be found. His bedroom door was locked, but the light was off, and he wasn't on the couch or in the shower. Realizing that I had my apartment to myself for the first time in months, I resolved to relax for once, and take the stress off of myself by drinking a few beers. The alcohol did the trick, and I spent the evening watching television and having fun by myself. It was a pleasure I could barely remember having ever been able to have.

It couldn't last. The next morning, despite the fact that I had not had that much to drink, I woke up to a terrible hang over.

The same was true the next morning, although I did not drinking the night before. And again, the morning after that, I found myself nauseous and uncomfortable.

I hadn't been alarmed, at first, when I'd missed my period that month because my birth control occasionally caused me to miss it for months at a time. But now, finding myself sick day in and day out, I began to panic. I rushed from my home one night and bought a pregnancy test, and discovered the twisted truth: I was pregnant with Brian's child.

For a week afterward, I was a nervous wreck. I had no idea what to do. Telling Brian would be telling my own potential rapist that he was the father of a child within my body, one that I was certainly going to abort, but not telling him seemed wrong somehow. Despite all the grief he had put me through, he still had some bizarre power over my thoughts and feelings. I struggled to get through work on Friday, and, finally swallowing the knot that had been in my throat since making the discovery, I decided to inform Brian over the weekend.

When I awoke Saturday morning, I immediately dressed myself and prepared for what I was sure would be the most difficult conversation of my life. I left my room and found Brian, who was sprawled casually on the sofa, looking like he didn't have a care in the world. This man had come to be so associated with suck darkness in my mind that I almost retreated, giving up on my endeavor in favor of quietly aborting the child. But I knew that if I did not persevere now, there might be no hope of my ever regaining control of my life. I approached my roommate carefully, and as I did, he looked up at me with an unusual fondness in his expression

"Oh, hey there, Dor." He said, grinning. He could apparently tell I meant business by the look on my face, and his affectionate grin disappeared instantly. "What's up?"

"Brian, we need to talk." I said, trying hard to keep from collapsing in on myself. The last few months of my life had been such a nightmare that my ability to steel myself in any situation had been devastated.

"I can tell." Brian replied. "So, I ask again: what's up?"

"I..." I started, and I took a deep breath that rattled my lungs, so that I could be sure I would not cave in. "I'm pregnant, Brian. And it has to be your child. I haven't slept with anyone since that incident between you and I last month."

And then a strange and terrifying thing happened. Brian wrinkled his nose, his expression changed into one of confused amusement, and he continued to stare at me with that same look of affection as before.

"Incident? That's a funny way of putting it, babe," He said. "Anyway, that' You're pregnant. Holy shit."

He was treating it like it was casual news. Yet again, it was like stepping into an alternate world, one where Brian had complete control over the thrust of every conversation despite my protestations. A world, that I was about to learn, was more horrifying than I could ever imagine.

"Yeah, I don't know how it happened," I heard myself reply, just as casually. I had lost my focus, somehow. Although a part of my head was screaming at me to remember how terrible this news was, that part was buried deeper now, beneath some foreign object in my mind that made me feel numb and unconcerned.

"My birth control must have failed." I said.

"That makes sense. So..." Brian said, and he was hesitant. There was something curious and strange in his eyes, as though he were internally debating something in earnest.

"Do we want to keep it?" He finally asked.

The rational part of my brain that knew this question made no sense threw fits, trying to unlock itself from whatever cage it had been put into within my brain. But the overwhelming force that had consumed my every thought turned me away from such thoughts, and made me respond to my roommate in kind.

"I don't know. We have been together a long time..." I said, even though this was utter nonsense. "I know we're not married, but it would feel wrong, somehow, to just get rid of it..."

This was the only thing I said that made even a grain of sand's worth of sense; something about the idea of aborting the child, from the moment I had discovered my own pregnancy, struck me as wrong despite my having every reason to dislike the idea. Brian nodded along in silent agreement with me until I was done speaking words that were not my own, and then he spoke up again. When he did, it was with a voice I simultaneously did and did not recognize. There was his own voice, the one I knew, and there was something else over the top of it. It was as though two people were speaking at once, and it quieted my resistance even further, pushing any dissenting thoughts I had to the very back of my mind.

"Well," He said. "I've always known I wanted kids. And you're right about us, we have been together for a long time. I love you. If you're comfortable raising my child..."

He paused. I wondered why he had referred to it specifically as his child instead of as simply a child.

"Then I'd really like to have this kid with you." He finished.

I found myself smiling, although I can no longer explain why I did so. Any semblance of my true self was washed out in that moment, replaced with a cruel, twisted mockery that agreed to things I would never have.

"I agree." I said. "I love you, too. I'd like to keep it."

There was more, but it was of hardly any consequence, and I remember very little after the point at which I told my rapist(and I know for certain that he must have raped me, now, because nothing else makes sense in conjunction with everything else that has happened since) that I love him.

I have made several attempts to schedule an abortion since, because whatever hypnosis Brian has me under seems to only work when I am around, now. But each time I've tried calling or showing up, something has stopped me. First, the phone lines at the abortion clinic were down and no one was able to respond. Then, when I arrived in person, for a walk-in appointment, they were closed down and I could find no way of contacting anyone who worked inside. At this rate, I will pass the point where an abortion is even possible, and that thought terrifies me. I can't bare the thought of having Brian's child, knowing that he has some sort of mind controlling power over me, a power he has used at every turn since moving in to make my life worse.

But what else can I do? My life is in shambles, and every attempt I make to make it better is thwarted, if not by Brian than by some external force hellbent on making me miserable.

I am surrounded on all sides by horror.